Spring Lake, NC — John David Livingston, 33, was shot and killed in the early morning hours in 2015 as police were conducting an assault investigation. Police were not looking for Livingston, and the entire situation could have been avoided had they come back with a warrant like Livingston requested. Now, because the cop who killed him was never held accountable, the taxpayers of Spring Lake will shell out $6 million.
The $6 million is the maximum payout allowed under the insurance policy carried by the Harnett County Sheriff’s Office. Naturally, the sheriff's department admits no guilt and defended the actions of police that night.
“This settlement is not in any way an admission of guilt to any actions of the deputies,” Sheriff Wayne Coats said. “Although I was not the sheriff at the time of the incidents, I still support the men that were involved and I believe they acted appropriately.”
The lawsuit disagreed and claimed a pattern of excessive force by the department and showed a whopping 43 incidents to support their case.
Harnett County Sheriff’s Deputy Nicholas Kehagias was the trigger man and belonged to an internal clique of cops who had surnames starting with "K" and allegedly referred to themselves as “KKK.”
After the shooting, Kehagias was allowed to quietly resign and avoided any and all accountability.
"In my opinion, I'd rather, honestly, get to where Kehagias is guilty," John Livingston Jr., Livingston's son said after the lawsuit.
"That money ain't going to buy my dad back. There's a lot of things I wish I could have done with my dad in the past five, six years that I wasn't able to do because of Kehagias.
"There's a lot of corrupt cops out there, and it's sad to say," he said, pointing out that it was this corruption that led to his father's death.
Livingston's roommate, Clayton Carroll told WNCN at the time that he was shot multiple times during the altercation with officers who had no right to be there in the first place.
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According to Carroll, deputies began knocking on the door around 3:30 am as they were looking for someone who no longer lived in the home. When Deputies asked Livingston if they could search his home, Livingston said “not without a search warrant,” according to Carroll.
Livingston then shut the door.
Having a man assert his fourth amendment right to be secure in his property was apparently too much for the deputy to handle.
“The cop kicked in the door, got on top of him, started slinging him around beat him…” Carroll said.
Witnesses explain how deputies began spraying pepper spray and deploying a taser during the assault. They say that Livingston was not fighting back and merely trying to prevent the deputies from inflicting more harm on him.
During the struggle, Livingston attempted to remove the taser from the deputy's hand which caused the officers to fear for their lives.
“He (Livingston) barely had the Taser in his hand, but he had it where it was constantly going off and the officer I guess that spoke to him rolled over there, says he got the Taser and shot him in this position,” Carroll said.
Livingston died from the multiple gunshot wounds, and his three young children were left fatherless.
Affidavits on Tuesday confirmed that deputies never had a search warrant when they first visited Livingston’s home that Sunday. However, shortly after breaking into the man's home and killing him, police did obtain a warrant and that warranted was executed.
Had this warrant been obtained prior to police showing up at Livingston's residence, the father of three would still be alive.
According to his friends and family, Livingston was a kind man and an incredible carpenter. They explained how Livingston built the wooden porch a month before so everyone could have fun on it. They never predicted that it would be the place of his death.